With Andre Brown likely headed to the IR/designation to return list, the New York Giants have began to work out a number of free-agent running backs to provide some depth behind David Wilson in the backfield.
Some of the backs reportedly visiting the Giants facilities include Beanie Wells, Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith, Jonathan Dwyer, Tim Hightower and Leon Washington. And while some of these names have been floated around for months, others have surfaced due to this weekend's round of roster cuts.
Hightower worked out for New York multiple times during the offseason, and was reportedly coveted by both the Giants and the Washington Redskins. Hightower last played in 2011 with the Skins.
Grant played in 2012 with the Green Bay Packers, appearing in five games but totaling just 132 rushing yards. In January, a then-running back-deprived Packers squad was no longer interested in retaining the veteran.
The more interesting names mentioned were Smith, Dwyer, Wells and Washington.
Dwyer and Washington were recent casualties of roster cuts. Dwyer was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers just a season removed from a 600-yard campaign. According to reports, Dwyer was waived partially because the Steelers coaches felt he didn't take his job seriously enough -- not exactly what you'd want to hear if you're Tom Coughlin or Jerry Reese.
Washington was released by the New England Patriots, who seemingly had a wealth of backs on their roster. Washington could not only contribute as a third-down back, but add another dimension on special teams as a kick returner. However, Washington was mostly unimpressive in his short stint with the Pats.
Smith and Wells were two players who had been productive with their previous teams, though neither has garnered too much interest this offseason.
Smith, formerly of the Detroit Lions, had seven touchdowns in 2011 before his role was reduced last season. Wells, who battled injuries regularly during his time with the Arizona Cardinals, appeared in eight games in 2012. The year prior, he enjoyed his first 1,000-yard campaign, rushing for 10 touchdowns in the process.
Talent-wise, Dwyer is probably the front-runner. The issue, of course, is the validity of his attitude issue the report indicated. Then, it's a matter of whether Wells can stay on the field. Based on the lack of interest Smith or Grant have received and the fact that Washington has not been able to catch on with either the Seattle Seahawks or Pats, it's unlikely he'll get an offer from the Giants.
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